TOLLING: Field test results released for toll collection smartphone application

Company CEO says nationwide interoperability is an achievable goal

February 18, 2014

Drivers may soon be able to pay tolls by smartphone thanks to new technology being developed by Florida-based GeoToll. GeoToll CEO Tim McGuckin discussed the results of a recent field test in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in an interview with Toll Roads News.

The application utilizes radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to essentially turn a smartphone into a transponder similar to E-ZPass, SunPass and other similar devices. When the application is enabled, the same readers used with those other models can detect the phone and charge accordingly.

McGuckin described GeoToll as an alternative to current transponders rather than a replacement. It would allow users to easily transfer the tag from one car to another without having to pay extra for additional transponders. By the same token, McGuckin said that users could add others—for example, children and other family members—onto their existing account.

GeoToll completed a field prototype test with WSDOT in fall 2013, covering the department’s entire network of toll road facilities. According to the test data, the technology successfully recorded 98.9% of the attempted readings.

Following the results of the field test, WSDOT selected GeoToll as a winner in its Request for Quotes and Qualifications (RFQQ) for RFID tolling technology, ensuring future collaboration between the two parties.

The end goal, according to McGuckin, is for GeoToll to incorporate electronic toll collection (ETC) protocols from across the country into one place, allowing nationwide interoperability.

McGuckin closed the interview by discussing some of the other potential applications of the GeoToll technology. For example, the company is in discussion with WSDOT to apply the technology to ferry systems across the state; this could have greater implications for further multimodal applicability.